North Central College introduces new academic program in film and screen studies

May 04, 2015

North Central College’s new minor in film and screen studies is designed to complement numerous majors and prepare students for a variety of careers.

“Film and screen studies will help students build transferable critical-thinking skills,” says Lisa Long, professor of English and chair of the College’s Division of Arts and Letters. “It will draw upon traditional theory but help students develop the visual literacy needed in today’s world.”

North Central College’s program will emphasize criticism, at least initially, by teaching students about all aspects of film and long-form visual storytelling. Study will include such areas as screenwriting, cinematography and art direction. North Central College is located close to Chicago, which has been a national hub of film criticism since critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert debuted their show “Sneak Previews” on PBS in 1975.

“The Chicago area is known for producing some of the best criticism and study of film,” says Judy Brodhead, associate professor of English and coordinator of cultural events. “Faculty from across multiple disciplines incorporate film and screen studies in their coursework.”

Students are excited about the new, interdisciplinary liberal arts offering and the potential to conduct scholarly research on an art form that has evolved from film to digital video.

“The new minor in film and screen studies will bring a lot of new opportunities and advancements to students interested in this field,” says Ashley Keegan, a freshman speech communication major from Ladd, Ill. “I think gaining a better understanding of film and filmmaking will enable students to become better organizers, collaborators, creators and competitors in our digital media world.”

From documentaries to foreign films, the new program creates opportunities to explore academic fields from history to international studies. Film and screen studies will complement numerous existing programs, including anthropology, art, computer science, English, foreign languages, graphic arts, history, interactive media studies, international studies, journalism, marketing, music, political science, religious studies, speech communication and theatre.

Various North Central College faculty will share their expertise with students, including Steve Macek, professor of communication who has conducted extensive research about the history of film censorship in Chicago from the early 1900s into the 1980s.

“Film is the most distinctive art form of the 20th century,” Macek says. “Its cultural, social and political significance has been debated and discussed from the halls of academia to the pages of the daily newspaper.”

The new program will be available to students as a minor beginning in fall 2015.